Independent Living Program
by Next Door Inc.

Paulsen had the chance to arrange a meeting between Steve Light, owner of Freebridge Brewing, and students associated with the Independent Living Program orchestrated by The Next Door. The Independent Living Program works with youth 14-21 in order to learn the necessary skills to help them exit the foster care system and become self sufficient.

Steve Light was more than happy to partner with Main Street on this endeavor and give the students a crash course in entrepreneurship and owning and operating a business. In collaboration with Steve’s presentation, Paulsen had the opportunity to promote the Americorps program and talk about the importance of Main Street playing a role in connecting community members from all walks of life. You should have seen the way these young people started the day looking uninterested and disconnected, but then by the end chiming in with their opinion and genuine interest. It was quite a transformation, but it was because folks doing things in their town had taken the time to connect with them, ask them questions, look for their insight. It’s hard not to get slightly emotional thinking back on how I shook each and every one of their hands on the way out and saw a smile and shine on those faces.

During this time, we were also busy coordinating Main Street’s contribution to the annual Cherry Festival...